How Frescobol changed Brazil during World War II
It was the 21th of April in 1945 and still during Second World War when Lian Pontes de Carvalho invented frescobol right in the heart of Copacabana Beach. It was building no. 1496 of Atlantic Avenue, right at the corner to Duvivier Street, where the carpenter had his little business running. Speaking with locals in Rio de Janeiro, they say he was specialized in building frames for pictures, surf boards and other small items made from pure woods. Inspired by French and Spanish Officials that he saw, playing a game similar to tennis at the beach, he got the idea of building his first own racket.
Made out of wood he had no usage for, he handcrafted the first frescobol racket right at Copacabana Beach. It was good fortune, that Lian was also a good business man. With the aid of the local swim guards, Lian quickly started selling his wooden frescobol bats all over the beach. It took less than two years until he made the coup of selling more rackets to a downtown store. But still, the wooden rackets were not affordable for all Brazilians. Driven by the passion to play, they started to manufacture their own rackets in handwork. First, they used sharps of glass, later they used sand paper to give the beach bats shape and function. During that time, all frescobol rackets were cumbersome and extremely heavy. They had to be. Until 1976, frescobol was not played with the frescobol balls we know today, but with tennis balls which have a much higher weight.
In the meantime, Lian used his engineering skills to build more and more frescobol rackets and with his entrepreneurial mindset, he always kept improving the beach bats. After some tries, he used wax to protect the rackets from sea water and the beach bats became lighter and lighter over time.
As many carpenter followed Lian, the invetor of frescobol, it took only a few years until the frescobol hype was spread all over Brazil. During that time, playing with beach bats also became national sport. Other South American countries followed the frescobol trend later.